If you have a craving for baked beans you can always open a can, of course — some brands are naturally vegan, and pretty good — but they can’t compare to a homemade casserole of vegan baked beans — embellished with bacon (plant-based, of course).
You can use any kind of vegan bacon you prefer, as there are lots of brands to choose from these days. Some are tempeh-based, some are seitan-based, and yet others are made from soy. You can also make your own Sweet and Savory Tempeh Strips. Use about half of that recipe for this one; make the whole batch though; trust me, you’ll use it up.
Navy beans are most often used in these kinds of baked bean dishes but I prefer cannellini or Great Northern beans, larger varieties of white beans that are similar to one another (but not the same). They’re paired up with pinto or red beans for a bit more visual and textural interest.
For a big, inexpensive dish to feed a crowd, feel free to double this recipe, and use a shallow 2-quart casserole dish if you do.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 strips plant-based bacon, cut into small pieces (or about half of a 5- to 6-ounce package), or see Note
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic. minced
- 15-ounce can cannellini or Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
- 15-ounce can pinto or red beans, drained and rinsed
BBQ sauce (makes 1 1/2 cups; or see shortcut)
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup agave or maple syrup (or use 2 tablespoons each syrup + molasses)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon barbecue seasoning blend (see Note)
- 2 teaspoons sweet or smoked paprika
- Freshly ground pepper
- Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
- Preheat the oven to 350º F.
- Heat half of the oil in a large skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the bacon and sauté over medium-high heat until lightly browned here and there, stirring often. Remove to a plate.
- Heat the remaining oil the same skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the onion is lightly browned. Stir in the beans and most of the bacon; reserve a little of the bacon for topping.
- Combine the ingredients for the BBQ sauce in a small mixing bowl and whisk together. Pour into the pan and stir together with the bean mixture.
- Transfer the bean mixture to a lightly oiled 1-quart baking dish (or, you can bake in individual ramekins or heatproof bowls).
- Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, then uncover and then for an additional 15 minutes, uncovered. Garnish with a little chopped cilantro if desired, then serve hot.
As mentioned in the headnote, you can make a batch of Sweet and Savory Tempeh Strips; use about half of the yield in this recipe.
Shortcut: This simple BBQ sauce is what give this dish its kick, but if you prefer, you can skip this step and use your favorite bottle barbecue sauce. You’ll need 1 1/2 cups.
Barbecue seasoning is available in the spice section of most supermarkets, one of the major brans is McCormick®. Varieties include smokehouse maple, mesquite, chipotle, and there are lots of others. Discover your favorites, and keep a couple on hand.